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Bunnies, bunnies, bunnies… they are big time garden lovers around here. Who can blame them with all of the tasty treats growing all around? Over the past four years, our biggest raised bed garden pest has been these cute hind leg hoppers. While they’re fun to watch and read stories about, their delight in eating my tomatoes was infuriating. So when we finally transitioned to a raised bed garden, we knew that we needed some type of fence. Our previous garden fence was simple metal fencing attached to posts with no gate, so I had to step over when I wanted to get in the garden. While this served its purpose, it was just…ugly.
Being able to enjoy a garden’s bounty and beauty are pretty important. While you don’t need to have an HGTV styled area, it’s not difficult to have a garden space that is beautiful and functional. When my husband first built our garden fence, I was surprised at what a finished look it gave our garden space. (Especially considering the makeshift fencing we’d had before!) With clean lines and a simple design, this fencing has kept the bunnies (and other small animals) away, while also protecting the garden from the trampling feet of our kiddos.
This simple garden fencing can be put together in a day, and the supplies are things that can easily be found at your local hardware store. And while we have it surrounding our raised beds, it could easily be modified to go around a traditional row garden. You’ll simply need to add posts to give the fence panels something to attach to. Here’s what you’ll need:
1×4 treated boards
Metal garden fencing (found in a roll in the garden center) 28 inches high
- Measure the garden space you want to fence. Determine the length of fence you’ll need for each side. We initially enclosed four raised beds (each had 4ft sides) with a 2ft space between each bed. We planned for our fence to attach to the beds themselves, so no extra room was needed on the outer edges of the beds. Each section of our fence needed to be 120 inches long.
- Measure the height of your rolled fencing. Ours was 28 inches high, so our panel design and boards needed to look like this: We allowed the height-wise boards to be two inches taller than the fencing. This gave us an inch of flex room at the top and bottom of the fence panel.
- Begin putting the panels together by nailing or screwing your lengthwise boards to the shorter end piece boards. You can use nails, but screws have a stronger hold. We preferred the shorter end pieces on the outer side of the fence panel; this makes attaching the fencing easier.
- For longer panel pieces, like the one designed above, you’ll want a third piece of wood in the middle of your panel, in addition to the two you just secured to the ends. This gives your panel more support. If your fence panel is only four to five feet long, you could skip this extra support piece. Be sure this extra piece is attached to the same side of the panel as the end pieces.
- Once you’ve created your fence panel, unroll your fencing and measure out the amount you’ll need to cover your panel. Cut your metal fencing to size. Begin attaching metal fencing to your fence panel using a staple gun. This is the easiest way to keep one hand on the fencing and the other securing it into place. Staple the fencing every few squares along the top, bottom, and sides of the panel.
- Once you’ve finished attaching your metal fencing to the fence frame, you’re almost done! Create a panel for each side of your garden space, and if you want each side covered, you’ll need to incorporate a gate.
- For the side of your garden with a gate, use the same design outlined above. Using your measurements, determine how wide of a gate you want to have. For our 120 inch measurement above, we chose a 2 foot gate. This simply means we used 2 feet of the fence as a gate and cut the wood accordingly. We added additional vertical boards to create 3 smaller fence panels: 1 panel for the side to the left of the gate, one panel for the right side, and one panel for the gate itself.
- Secure the panels for the fence and gate using the same method described above. Cut and attach the metal fencing just as with the larger panel. Once your panels and gate are put together, you’re ready to put up your fence.
- We attached the bottoms of our fence panels directly to our raised beds. We did this at the corner of each bed, as well as every two feet.
- For the corners where the fence panels came together, we used L-brackets. These allowed support for the panels, without needing to add fence posts. Screw the L-brackets firmly into place.
- Once all of your panels are in place, you’re ready to add your gate. Using simple exterior hinges from the hardware store, attach the hinges to your gate, then to end of the panel from where the gate will swing.
- Finally, on the opposite side of your gate from the hinges, install a simple latch system. (We use the extra piece to keep the little gardener and his friends out.)
And that’s it! I know it may seem like a lot of steps, but it really is just building a frame and adding some metal fencing. One of the BEST things about this fence is it is easy to add onto. The hubs built this fence three years ago, and just this year I wanted one more bed added to our garden space. This new bed would be as wide as the garden space itself, an end cap bed.
He was able to simply take off one fence panel, move it back five feet to where the new bed was sitting. Then he added the panel back to the end of the garden and built two smaller panels to fill in the now empty spaces. His handiness amazes me at times!
Now, you may notice that since these panels are attached to the beds themselves, that there will be open spaces between the ground and the fence panel in the path area. Use scrap 1×4 or 2×4 pieces to fill in these gaps. We’re trying to keep the bunnies and other critters out, so we don’t want to leave them a nice wide opening.
This fence has served us well over the past three years, and we look forward to quite a few more! I’d love to know if you give this project a try, or how you are able to keep hungry yard animals out of your garden space. Happy Gardening!